While many were concerned for public safety when the Beast from the East hit the UK, there was some serious worry for some of the most vulnerable people, namely older adults. With towns cut off in the South West and plummeting temperatures, charities dedicated to older adults were urging people to check on their neighbours, especially if they were older.
The winter can have some of the most treacherous weather for older adults. With icy roads causing slippery surfaces, those who already suffer from limited mobility and find themselves using stair lifts, may not be as confident getting about.
One Irish grandma went viral when she decided to put those concerns aside. While many were battling the weather to get to or from work, others were enjoying the unusual weather and made the most of their snow day with a touch of sledging. 86-year-old great-grandmother Eileen Maguire decided to join her grandson in some of the fun.
Though Eileen was quick to assure the BBC she felt very safe: “I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for my grandson Jack, I knew he’d be behind me and that I was safe. ‘I watched them all having a great time and thought I’d give it a go – it was just spur of the moment. It was scary to start with but it got easier as we went along.”
The image displays the fun had across the generations as well as the community spirit that is alive and kicking on Sweeney’s Hill in Rathpeacon, County Cork, where the image was taken. Deborah Maguire, Eileen’s daughter-in-law was pleased by the positive response to the image:
“I think it’s amazing. The picture was a bit of fun. People are connecting from all over the country asking their grannies to give it a go too. People tend to think of the elderly as feeble and this shows they are not. It’s amazing.”